Improving palliative care services to help people who are dying is an important aim of current UK policy. However palliative care services are not currently benefitting from one of the most influential ways of providing health care: a trauma-informed approach. This approach acknowledges that both health care organisations and the individuals or teams providing care need to be sensitive to the possibility that patients may be carrying a history of psychological trauma which may affect their ability to trust healthcare providers and prevent them accepting some or all of the care they need. Although it has also recently been proposed that a trauma informed approach could be helpful for people receiving palliative care, particularly for populations who experience structural vulnerability, for example that related to racism, LGBTQI+ identity, homelessness, substance use, or mental health, this is not an approach which has had, to date, much impact on UK palliative care services. This is despite it being advocated by professional organisations (e.g. The Association of Palliative Care Social Workers).
Consequently, the aim of this studentship is to conduct provisional research into the potential for trauma-informed care in UK hospices and in palliative care more broadly. While we would expect the successful student to inform the design of the programme of research, we anticipate a mixed methods design, with a scoping review and then quantitative surveys and qualitative research, could be appropriate.
We expect the student and supervisory team to work closely with relevant organisations, who are already supporting this programme of research, and public advisors to help inform the design and focus of the studies. We would expect this studentship to have significant impact and to create potential for the development of a programme of research into this emerging area of focus.
The successful student would join an experienced supervisory team who have, collectively, supervised over 160 doctoral students. The team are committed to supporting the successful student not only to complete their PhD but to help them with their post PhD career goals. The host department, the Division of Health Research, also offers a comprehensive range of training and learning opportunities, with online modules on systematic reviews, the philosophy of research and methods and analysis.
This studentship would suit someone with an interest in developing their mixed method research skills and who wishes to achieve a high level of scholarship. We also would like to see a demonstrated interest in improving the lives of people who are dying or living with a long-term or life-limiting condition.
Application process: Applications should be made in writing to the lead supervisor, Dr Maddy French ([Email Address Removed]). You MUST include the following
1. CV (max 2 A4 sides), including details of two academic references
2. A cover letter outlining your qualifications and interest in the studentship (max 2 A4 sides)